Coming off an NBA Finals appearance, the Phoenix Suns should be feeling optimistic about their future. With Chris Paul, Devinn Booker, and Deandre Ayton, they have a solid core that brings a little bit of everything to the table.
Of course, doubt continues to grow about how long that core will last.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, their star bi man, Deandre Ayton, has become very dissatisfied with the franchise in wake of their refusal to meet his demands on a contract extension.
With the deadline officially passing in less than a day, it's highly unlikely that Ayton and the Suns will agree to a deal, and it is a story that has been unfolding for weeks now.
"Ayton, a key part of the Suns' run to the 2021 NBA Finals, has no intention of accepting a deal less than the comparable max contracts signed by several of his 2018 NBA draft classmates, including Atlanta's Trae Young, Dallas' Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Denver's Michael Porter Jr., sources told ESPN.
Ayton, 23, is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension, with escalators that could reach $207 million -- a deal that many executives leaguewide expected would be complete in short order this offseason. But now, with a looming Oct. 18 deadline for rookie extensions, sources said the talks between the Suns and Ayton's representatives have been slowed by ownership's current assertion that Ayton doesn't deserve to be included in that group of players -- and a belief by the 7-footer that his performance, his potential and the marketplace dictate that he does."
For whatever reason, the Suns are not confident that Ayton is worth the max and feel strongly that he's not on the level of some of his peers.
The young big man has already gone public with his displeasure of the situation, but it did nothing to push Suns ownership towards his line of thinking.
So, after coming to within two games of a Championship, the franchise is left having to deal with the fallout of their unhappy star, who could make them regret how this whole thing plays out.
Ayton, 23, has just one year left on his current deal.